Troy Enters New Territory with State Berth

Published 05/28 2014 03:20PM

Updated 05/28 2014 11:15PM

(TROY, Kan.) Doniphan County's seen good baseball in the last decade.

A co-op between Troy and Wathena resulted in multiple trips to the state tournament, and even a third place finish in 2009.

But Troy didn't find that same success right away when starting a program by itself.

That changed in 2014. The Trojans are 19-3, and just three wins away from a state championship.

Despite a baseball program that's only existed for the last four years, Troy felt pressure to win now.

"I feel like it was expected of us," junior pitcher Nathan Gaarder said.

The Trojans responded.

After 22 wins combine over the first three seasons, they've reeled off 19 victories in 2014.

"We almost felt the need to win. We felt all those games we had to win. It was going to be a disappointment if we lost any of those games."

Troy started turning heads with a mid-season win streak that reached nine games, but defending region champ Valley Falls ended with back-to-back victories over the Trojans late in the season.

"After we lost that first Valley Falls game we all kind of got down," senior catcher Cody Israel said. "And (Coach Purdy) just told us to keep our heads up. It's only one game."

The Trojans won the meeting that mattered, though. They faced Valley Falls last week in the region title game and handed the Dragons their first loss of the season.

"It was huge," Gaarder said. "It was extremely exciting. We just kept battling that game"

"That was a season goal to begin with. Beating a team like Valley Falls to go to the state tournament is definitely a good victory for us," head coach Roger Purdy said.

Now with all the confidence of a region championship carrying them into the state tournament, Troy's looking to do some damage.

"I know if we play up to our potential, we can do some big things at state."

And they're feeding off all the expectations this team felt at the start of the season.

"I wouldn't say pressure," Gaarder said. "I would say excitement. All it is now is fun."

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